Partial Knee Replacement

Unlike total knee replacement surgery, this less invasive procedure replaces only the damaged or arthritic parts of the knee. The OXFORD® unicompartmental knee uses metal and plastic implants designed to potentially last longer and wear down less easily than traditional implants.  Some patients may also be canidates for patellofemoral replacement, or a meniscus transplant. The below video featuring our Co-Founder, Dr. Mark Woolf will show you how the procedure works from start to end.

What is a partial knee replacement?

knee hemiarthroplastyA Partial knee replacement is a optional procedure to a total knee replacement.  The procedure is less invasive than a total knee replacement and results in a functional knee joint that feels more like a natural knee. A partial knee replacement allows for rotation of the knee joint that is more natural to the knee’s unaltered state.  Total knee replacements result in a hinged joint that upgrade from dealing with the pain of end stage osteoarthritis, but there is a loss of range of motion in the loss of the slight rotational movements the knee joint is capable of.

Who is a candidate for a partial knee replacement?

Unfortunately, not everyone with arthritic damage to the knee is a candidate for a partial knee replacement.  There is a in surgery examination of the knee joint to confirm the eligibility of a patient to recieve a partial knee replacement.

  • the ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, needs to be intact to support the knee.  If the ACL is not in appropriate shape the partial knee would catastrophically fail, so if the ACL is compromised the surgeon will perform a total knee replacement instead.
  • The knee must be stable before the surgery.  The damage of osteoarthritis causes pain and can reduce the range of motion of the joint, but the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, are not effected and still offer stabilizing forces.  If the knee is stable then the patient may be a candidate.
  • The surgeon will check the range of motion of the joint to ensure that partial knee replacement is appropriate.
  • The knee is composed of two compartments where the bones of the femur rest on a meniscus that sits on the tibia. One compartment is between the legs, and the other is on the outer side of the knee.  Only one of these compartments can be damaged for a partial knee to be an option.

Benefits of a Partial knee replacement

The main benefit of a partial knee replacement is that it relieves the pain of a knee joint destroyed by osteoarthritis.  A partial knee replacement can be considered in some cases instead of a total knee replacement and there are advantages to having only half of the knee joint replaced.  The body mechanics of a partial knee replacement are much more natural to the patient.  A total knee takes some time to get used to and doesn’t feel the same as a natural knee.  A partial knee replacement is still able to rotate when bending the knee offering a more natural range of motion that we are used to.  The surgical experience of a partial knee replacement alters less tissues.  Less bone is cut, and the tendons are left intact.  Less blood is lost, and because not as much tissue is disturbed the recovery is much less painful.  Recovery is also over a shorter period of time  If you are a candidate for a partial knee replacement it is worth considering as a alternative to a total knee replacement.  Replacement hardware lasts about twenty years with a small percentage of patients lasting around ten years and up to thirty.  When the hardware wears out a knee replacement revision replaces worn out hardware and establishes improved structural function on worn out bone.

Considering a knee replacement? Ask if a partial knee replacement is right for you. 817-375-5200

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